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Clarkson 'shocked' at Argentina row


James May denied any intention to offend

James May denied any intention to offend

James May denied any intention to offend

The executive producer for Top Gear says he understands why fans think the show is"crying wolf" by denying that a controversial numberplate which sparked protests in Argentina was part of a deliberate stunt.

In a blogpost Andy Wilman said Jeremy Clarkson was "shocked" when someone pointed out the link between the numberplate and the Falklands War days in to filming.

The show's crew had to leave the country during filming after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The presenters said they bought the car - complete with the number plate - in the UK because it was the best available vehicle of its type and he no one had even noticed the plate.

Mr Wilman said: "I've read quite a few comments from viewers who are equally convinced we put the plate on deliberately, and I can understand that.

"We are, after all, a show known for getting into hot water through our antics, and now we're protesting our innocence over this affair, we're seen as merely crying wolf.

"I can also empathise with people who believe it's exactly the sort of stunt we'd pull - cheeky number plate, wind up the locals, no harm done."

"The truth is, however, this is most definitely not the sort of stunt we'd pull."

He said the show would never mock soldiers from any conflict and that it also could not risk jeopardising the filming of its Christmas special, which they were shooting.

He added: "The truth is the first time we realised the plate could be a problem was on the third night of our shoot in Argentina (19 September, I believe), when Jeremy was scrolling through Twitter and spotted a comment on one of the auto fan sites, next to a photo of the plate. I remember his surprise and concern.

He said they then spoke with the authorities in Ushuaia, the town where the war issue was most sensitive, agreed to remove the plates before entering the town and to get BE11 END plates made for Jeremy's car.

It was in the town that a group of veterans arrived and "told us to leave town or face the consequences", he added.

The programme has already run into problems this year, with one edition found to be in breach of Ofcom's broadcasting code for the use of a racially-offensive term during a two-part special filmed in Burma, following a complaint from a viewer.

And presenter Jeremy Clarkson apologised after footage, that was never broadcast, emerged in which he appeared to use the n-word, although he denied actually saying it.

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